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Artist creating giant wooden hand in Eastown

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A sculpture artist is hard at work putting the finishing touches on a giant wooden hand in the front yard of an Eastown home.

"Well, I have to do its nails," sculptor Bearclaw Jack responds when asked how much he has left to finish.  He expects his 12-foot wood carving to be completed with just a few more hours of work.

Bearclaw Jack was hired by homeowner Heather McGartland to fashion a giant hand out of a dying oak tree. The tree was a beloved oak, but it began to die after the city had to rip up some roadway several years ago.

"We kind of took a vote and when the city came to tear it down, I asked them to leave me 10 or 12 feet, and they did," McGartland tells FOX 17.

McGartland and her family also recently suffered the loss of her mother and father. Her oak tree project would become a memorial for them.

"We lost both parents and this big beautiful tree within four years. And so this is our way of coping with that loss and offering something to our neighborhood. So the healing hand of God can be looked at a lot of ways," she says.

Photos of the carving have been showing up on social media in the last week, people wondering about the hand's significance.  McGartland says people have been stopping in front of her house all day to take selfies.

"We're neighborhood people. We want this to be recognized as a safe place. We’re here. We’re political, but we're non-verbal.  This is our nice way of saying that here is a hand up, a hand outstretched to you," She says.

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